Critical Essay

In my Critical Essay I decided to refer to my work - the things I want to improve on, and other things that I feel I have already achieved. By keeping small notes of my thoughts for the last two months, I tried to be as honest as possible and deal with my worries, doubts, strengths or weaknesses in my studio-based practice. From my point of view I find it very difficult to separate the deeply personal and clearly emotional part of the confusion that exists into my mind; in fact some parts detailed very private facts because I was unable to separate them from my motives as an artist. From the very beginning I tried to be concentrated on how I feel about my previous work and the reason why it has now taken another direction. By trying to keep the directness of an internal dialogue, I ended up writing a text in the form of a diary with its inherently more casual tone.
At the same time, when I consider it, I added some paragraphs (most of them collected from internet research) that refer to the artists who influenced my work. These paragraphs are either comments made by the artists about their work, or, journalists’ comments about those artists’ exhibitions or their work in general. Finally there are some texts that, I feel, are related to some of my work in terms of the associations that spring to mind.
By using the fact that usually there is no coherence in my way of thinking, I was fascinated by the idea of putting the paragraphs in random order. In other words, I tried to approach a “golden section” between a formal text and the informality of an individual’s way of thinking.
To emphasize the off-hand nature of these records, I used paper boxes....
....and filled them with these random snippets. I envisaged the curiosity of the reader compelling them to dip in, as if into a Pandora’s box, penetrating into my mind, picking out perhaps an image, perhaps a text, but not knowing what is paired to what........a sense of confusion and disorder......

Thursday 23rd October

I like the fact that my marks are looking like some kind of fireworks in action in these two paintings. I have the feeling, especially for the first painting, that it was my need to escape from the seemingly endless “dots” that lead led me to act like this. I was waiting so patiently to fill in the entire surface that I needed something to balance that feeling.
(pictures 2, 19)

A firework is classified as a low explosive pyrotechnic device used primarily for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a firework display.
(pictures 3, 32)

Friday 24th October

I had many doubts about this painting. Once I had stretched the linen I had to make the decision. I needed a simple and easy move that could help me to fill in the entire surface. I don’t want much pressure these days. I was thinking “it seems to me very seductive what I want to make on that canvas. It will help me to concentrate but I have to make the decision before I start and that’s a bit annoying for me. Once I’ve committed, I’ll have just to follow the rules .I hate that. What if I have a new idea? What if I get bored before I finish all the marks? Maybe if I read an interesting book at the same time, it might be easier. That’s a thought-I can alternate. Why not? If I manage to focus on this it could produce interesting results. At the same time I could write every new thought I have. I could record everything I think, and anything I do, until I get to the absolute concentration. It’s like an experiment with myself”.
(picture 2)

“Why do humans like fireworks?”
“A complex reaction in the brain is triggered when we see the colourful explosions. This may account for fireworks' enduring popularity”
(pictures 3, 32)

Tuesday 28th October

There is a rhythm in the repetition of these marks. It seems like the rhythm of prayer-like a kind of meditation. I wonder if it will help me to improve my patience, my power of observation, and my self-control. Do I need to put things in order? I’m not sure-though it’s true that I feel like there is a chaos in my mind. Anyway do I have to try and put thinks in an order in this essay? I was never good at that. Maybe I’ll just have just to be honest and write about my thoughts as I could do if I was writing my real diary.
(picture 2)

Chaos, Order, Meditation, Observation, Patience

Thursday 30 October

I have a big dilemma these days, because my work changes so rapidly that I feel I have to reach a conclusion. I just opened my portfolio to see my early work and compared it with the painting I had been working on for the last 3 weeks. I still remember where I found every single object that I used, the mood I was in whilst working on every single of them.
(pictures 16, 26, 27)

He (Polke) makes the dripping and flowing of paint his theme, originating from the character of the watery gouaches. 
The controlled and uncontrolled 'allowing to happen' of physical phenomena plays an important role for him.

Saturday 8th November

Most of the time I’m thinking about the history of each object, where it was before, how it was being used, for how long, why it was thrown away etc. But also I’m trying to see them as colourful shapes and forms in the space and create new visual stories with them, or other times just paint on them taking advantage of their colour and shape.

Sunday 9th November

The photographs I took for my presentation was a step forward in my work. This time instead of taking an object from the street to my studio, as I usually do, I walked outside with my oil pastels and painted on the objects or on the surfaces as I found them, in their own environment. Then, through the photographs I took, of the painted objects, I created a new work. Some of these images are like new paintings where the frame captures the shapes I wanted and my marks supplement the picture and balance the composition.
(pictures 28, 29, 30)

“Why do people like fireworks so much?”
“Because you are legally blowing stuff up, and it makes noise, and appeals to the pyro in all of us” “It is something out of the ordinary in our regulated lives. They are pretty and noisy and conjure up images of excitement and a happy atmosphere”

Fireworks elicits the most magical and ephemeral moment of joy!

Monday 11th November

I’m very keen on collecting objects from the street. I felt enthusiastic when I passed through that wooden bed piece, or these four doors I found around my area when I was living in Athens. And I’ll never forget the face of the truck-driver when I asked him to move the big wooden wheel (that literally was a piece of a cable spool) from the side of the road and move it to my studio. Or the day that I found that bundle of coffee-bins sacks in a litter close to the coffee shop of my neighborhood.
(pictures 16, 26, and 27)

Tuesday 12th November

By adopting a new approach, they become simply forms in the space or as the surface that I could paint on there by giving them a new identity.

Sunday 23rd November

There is a feeling of futility these dots contain that makes me want to continue doing them until they make me find a reason. Who is controlling who? The search for meaning fuels these inconsequential marks.

Tapies, Rauschenberg, Basquiat, Boltanski, Polke, Salcedo, Olitski, Bourgeois, Akrithakis, Samaras, Kounelis

“Mr Polke, why do you always try out new things?’ ‘It’s got something to do with the fact that life goes on.’”

Metal, glass, plastic, wood, old, brand new, dusty, gashed, broken, fragile, unbreakable, used
Its object has or had different use
Its material has a different look
It’ surface has a different feel

His irreverence for traditional painting techniques and materials and his lack of allegiance to any one mode of representation has established his now-respected reputation as a visual revolutionary.
A complicated "narrative" is often implicit in the multi-layered picture, giving the effect of witnessing the projection of a hallucination or dream through a series of veils.

Monday 24th November

So now I’m trying to decide which artist to pick as my favourites from a long list of artists that have influenced my work. The choice is not easy. During the last ten years I’ve been studying art I’ve spent so many hours at university libraries admiring international artist and artist of my country.

At the heart of Doris Salcedo’s work is the visual articulation of that which is so often unacknowledged or made invisible: the victim of violence, the refugee, the immigrant, the decimated domestic sphere, the disregarded social contact. Salcedo fashions a space in which these realities can be both recognised and legitimised. Since 1985, her consistent address of individual and collective tragedies has fanned out from the specific circumstances of her native Colombia to abuses visited upon humanity across the globe. By giving physical manifestation to experiences of human suffering, she bears testimony to mechanisms of power that have diminished people’s sense of self and the public sphere.

Tuesday 25th November

I like to collect old objects from the street
I like to think about their history, the spaces they were in, their ex-owners
Sometimes I’m painting them as if it is a kind of game,
I have the need to transform them into something else as I did when I was a child
I have the need to transform “real-world objects” into “my-world objects”
Sometimes I combine objects together just to create an interesting form, a new unit, another object.

Doris Salcedo makes sculptures and installations that function as political and mental archaeology, using domestic materials charged with significance and suffused with meanings accumulated over years of use in everyday life. Salcedo often takes specific historical events as her point of departure, conveying burdens and conflicts with precise and economical means.

I have a feeling of completion looking of these pieces

Wednesday 26th November

I’m playing with the associations that everyday object bring to our minds. Objects that are located in our everyday environment. Objects that normally people don’t give a second thought. Objects with different utilities, forms, shapes, colours I create stories with these combinations. I’m giving value to their seemingly worthless existence.

I walked through the final rooms three times. They are mesmerising. First, her 'cells', produced in the 1990s after she bought a separate studio: cage-like spaces constructed from ancient doors and, in one case, a water tower, and filled with found objects. Think Robert Rauschenberg's 'combines' on speed. Their contents lead irresistibly back to her childhood, as if she has taken up an odd kind of scrap-booking and on a rapacious, British Library scale. Cell (Clothes) from 1996 is the walk-in wardrobe from hell. The spectral garments gathered inside it are emotional signposts; like most women, she has only to look at a certain dress to recall how she felt when she wore it. On the back of a white coat, Bourgeois has stitched: 'The cold of anxiety is very real.'

Thursday 27th November

I’m trying to recognise what am I thinking by seeing these objects.
What can I offer to them.
What they can give me back

“I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or
Coke bottles are ugly, because they’re surrounded by things
like that all day long, and it must make them miserable.”

Monday 1st December

My work deals with the observation of the shape and colour of objects that surround our lives. I’m trying to explore equally their aesthetic as much as their symbolic values. I’m aware of the materials that utility objects are made of. I like the think that time has the ability to change completely their appearance and make them useless or inappropriate.

"When I first starting collecting objects after graduate school, it was the quantity and variety that attracted me--and the idea that I could go to Goodwill and pay fifty cents for a whole carload of televisions with marvelous plastic consoles, antennas, and wiring. They had both an amazing appeal and an inherent sadness to them."
Nancy Rubins

Tuesday 2nd December

In that show I had the opportunity to work in a space which was a cell (in an out of use prison at Acibadem).I brought my father’s childhood-bed into the space and marked the shape of my body on the flower-pattern mattress. Some domestic objects are lying by the wall and the red mark on the wall completes the installation. The sense of abandonment I was feeling ten months after my father’s death has been imprinted in that cell. I think I felt so familiar with that space in the end that I needed to be part of the installation.
(picture 6)

Wednesday 3rd December

I like the fact that the one mark follows the other. It’s like a game between controlled movement and accidental result. It’s like an endless route without beginning or end.
(picture 2)

Nancy Rubins has been creating visually stunning sculptures out of salvaged industrial and consumer goods including mattresses, trailers, hot water heaters, airplanes and small appliances since the late 1970s. In her hands, such everyday objects become unfamiliar and astonishing, as they are trussed and finessed into heroic forms that defy both gravity and our expectations for how these things should behave. The sculptures may appear precarious but are, in fact, delicately balanced and precisely engineered. While her works are often read as social commentary on consumer society and technological obsolescence, Rubins is most interested in the formal properties, availability, and utilitarian beauty of the particular items with which she works

Thursday 4th December

Why am I feeling so empty now? I can’t think of anything. Nothing is enough to fill in all this space. For every thought I have I’m then saying “so what?” and at the same time I erase that idea from my mind. Why does everything seem so pointless? Is it the fact that I feel a small disappointment? About what?
Maybe it’s about the procedure. Maybe that’s my concept. That everything has to do with the procedure. In other words it’s the journey that matters not the destination. And if I feel that I want to make that journey I must at least try.

Society, Coexistence, Marginalisation, Adaptation, Loneliness